The last time Obama went to Europe it was as a candidate for President during the Democratic primary(when was the last time a candidate for President of the United States campaigned in Germany?). At the time Axelrod assured big adoring crowds for Obama by giving away free food and a free rock concert by Germany's hottest rock act something that only the respected German magazine Der Spiegel reported while the majority of US media ignored it, content to stay in Obama's pocket, (presumably where the change was)
This time when Obama brings his act to the G20, the only free food will be for the those attending the summit, and as for a free concert, its not likely Obama will hear anything that might be called music to his ears since other European countries blame the US and the reckless behavior of its financial institutions for the current financial mess. And of course for the most part they are right, though it is also true that all this recklessness and its disastrous consequences took place thanks to George W. Bush and the Republicans.
Nevertheless Obama's constant refrain here in the US "It's not my fault" is not going to make anyone at the G20 summit swoon. The Democrats response to the crisis, with Obama as Salesman in Chief, has been met with criticism here as well as overseas. The respected (and liberal) economist Paul Krugman who writes a column for the New York Times has come right out and said in so many words that Obama's policies regarding the economy are going to fail. In fact he wrote that they had to fail based on history and basic economic metrics.
There are good reasons to doubt that the policies so far initiated will work though it's understood they have to do some good somewhere. You can't throw over a trillion dollars at a problem (don't even bother trying to understand how much that is) without it having some effect. The question is how much and at what cost. Watching Obama go to Ohio to give a speech claiming that a $767 billion rescue plan is working because it saved 25 jobs on the Columbus Ohio police force doesn't exactly inspire confidence. We have already seen the $27 billion given to auto makers go down the drain (see "Obama's Learner's Permit and the auto industry bailout") and that money has been wasted regardless of the auto makers futures.
We'll see what if anything the G20 summit accomplishes. For the United States and the problems here at home it really isn't going to mean much one way or the other.Its being billed here by the news media more as Obama's debut on the international stage since we keep hearing from the news media how wildly popular Obama is in Europe. We'll soon find out. Because this time, free food and a rock concert isn't going to work. This time the crowds are angry.The heads of state of the other European countries are angry. And Obama may find that he is no American Idol this time. And that there are a lot of out there Simon Cowells waiting for him.
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